Determining future medical care for your client has traditionally been calculated by either a certified life care planner or by the law firm itself. In the past, a life care planner was hired toward the end of the case’s lifecycle as a last-ditch effort to avoid trial.  

While that tactic may have been acceptable ten years ago, more recently, things have started to change. Attorneys are discovering that hiring a life care planner at the beginning of the case can help provide valuable insights throughout all phases to help get the case settled in an acceptable and swift manner.

This can be especially valuable when a life care planner is hired during the pre-litigation phase as their impact can help with their cases’ outcome tenfold. Think of it this way; If a case is like a ship, the life care planner is most effective as the helmsman or navigator. The skilled life care planner can bring an element of foresight to the pre-litigated case to help guide the ship for the attorney (the captain) throughout the route to settlement. Waiting to get the life care planner involved right before the ship docks at the destination would be a mistake, because while they can help dock the boat, chances are, without a navigation specialist, time and efficiency were wasted during the journey.  

Below are some very important values that the life care planner can bring to your pre-litigation phase:

Determining any missing records that need to be requested.
All too often I receive medical records to review for a case that are missing very important records that could reveal information that is crucial for a valid and reliable report. 

Helping in the preparation of a demand package.
Oftentimes, in the pre-litigation phase, future and marginal medical costs are estimated to present a rough understanding of future damages. A simple medical cost projection produced by the life care planner will certify that the future costs are in fact accurate, required, usual, reasonable, and customary. This report will save the law firm time and money, and significantly increase the chances of getting the case settled prior to litigation.

Helping to assist in identifying the appropriate experts needed:  
While working through medical records, I often come across gaps in care, archaic records, or inadequate practitioners that can make it difficult to provide a sound and accurate life care plan. The last thing you want to discover as an attorney walking into trial, is that your life care planner uncovered that all along your client was experiencing post-concussive / cognitive symptoms and they never saw a neuropsychologist for an evaluation. By getting a life care planner involved early-on in the process, they can help you avoid roadblocks and setbacks as you prepare your case. 

Educating attorneys on the proper questions to ask opposing experts:
No member of your team will understand the case better than your life care planner. You can bet that treating practitioners will be disconnected from the varying practitioner opinions of the case relative to their prescribed care for your client. A skilled life care planner is well versed in the collaboration of multiple specialties and can help determine the most appropriate questions to ask both your retained and opposing experts to help educate the jury of their findings.

As you can see, retaining a life care planner early on in your case, can improve the process and prevent last minute scrambling to put future medical care costs on paper. I can assure you that leaving a life care planner out of the process will prove to be a disservice to your client as many important items may be left undiscovered and therefore not taken into consideration.  

If you have a case that could benefit from the insights of a life care planner, reach out to one today. You’ll receive valuable information and insight throughout the process to support a more thorough case. 

Dr. Poppie has served the legal industry as a treating clinician, damages expert, and educator for over 20 years. He specializes in the evaluation and treatment of multi-trauma injuries related to motor vehicle collisions, standard of care and malpractice claims, and as a damages expert to help educate insurance companies and both plaintiff and defense counsel to provide a viable pathway for obtaining a fair settlement based on ethics, research, and evidence-based standards of care. 

As a certified life care planner, Dr. Poppie helps to guide attorneys through all phases of their case and projects accurate and reliable future medical costs. Evidence-based practice guidelines are utilized in all reports in order to ensure the needed criteria is met to withstand scrutiny within all legal jurisdictions. 

Dr. Poppie founded Injury Reporting Consultants to help attorneys and insurance companies resolve personal injury cases through medical analysis and reporting. Injury Reporting Consultants is a collaborative team of dedicated medical professionals using their knowledge to ensure fair outcomes for all parties in personal injury cases.

Recognized specialties include Motor Vehicle Collision, Life Care Planning, Medical Cost Projection, Functional Capacity Evaluation, Onsite Job Analysis, Functional Impairment and Disability, Workplace Injuries, Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Standards of Care, Current Best Practices, Physical Therapy Malpractice, Negligence, File and Medical Record Review, Improper Documentation, Expert Rebuttal Reports, and Expert Testimony.

If you have a client that you would like to discuss their need for an expert report, please contact me directly at 720-982-2000 or email me at: